21st Faith

21stfaith

We are a collaborative research project, investigating and questioning faith as a human feeling. 

This publication presents 32 creative projects created for an exhibition in October 2017 at The Workshop, Lambeth. 

17

Narcissus or

the Outfit of a Century,

by Edward Green.

‘Those hushed, restless murmurs of anger and despair at unfortunate events in all

of our lives must be directed somewhere. Who do we beg to for luck? Who do we curse

in the sky? For theists this is a God. But what, or who is it for a new generation

of narcissistic non-believers?’

Narcissus or The Outfit of a Century is a contemporary response, or reinterpretation,

of the mythical poem Echo and Narcissus, featured in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The ancient

story depicts a relationship of unequals. The mountain nymph, Echo, has her lust

and desire met with disdain by the proud hunter Narcissus. The latter’s devout faith

in his own beauty eventually spirals into self-obsession and culminates in suicide.

Morally, the tale resonates with a 21st Century crisis of identity and faith. Artificial persona

platforms such as Tinder, Bumble, Facebook and Twitter can be perceived as the endless,

echoing mating calls, emanating out from our phones and into the glass wilderness.

Narcissus, the objectifying receiver to these desperate echos, has become the common

person, with vanity, anxiety and mental health all being normalised in today’s society.

The search for faith is becoming more insular and more introspective.

Similar to the symbolist art movement and the Pre-Raphaelite painting techniques,

in which items of reference and significance are hidden amongst the paint and words,

I have included talismans of contemporary vanity into my work. Upon the model’s head;

a garland of feathers, weaved betwixt a life-giving-phone-charger. Adorning her body

is the collaged, ambiguous fashion of youth; nostalgic and thoughtless. Her skin exposed,

her eyes fixed and the gaze returned; has her faith been restored?

Edward: edwardjuliangreen.tumblr.com, @nedgreen